This weekend ASFF selects five new feature films – four from America and one from South Korea – that are being released this weekend in cinemas. From an animated adventure to a psychological drama to real-life stories, this varied selection investigates everything from failure and friendship to jealousy and racism.
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Universal)
The third film in the animated franchise, loosely based on the books by Cressida Cowell, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden Worldis another colourful and vibrant entry into the series. Once again directed by Dean DeBlois – who previously helmed the much underrated Lilo & Stitch– the story sees Hiccup, Toothless and the others all return, with voices again provided by Jay Baruchel, American Ferrara, Cate Blanchett and Jonah Hill.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?(Twentieth Century Fox)
Nominated for three Oscars, Marielle Heller’s hugely enjoyable true tale sees Melissa McCarthy play Lee Israel, a failing biographer who starts crafting and selling forged letters from literary titans like Dorothy Parker and NoëlCoward. Co-starring an ebullient Richard E. Grant, as her partner-in-crime, a boozy huckster named Jack Hock, this is a glorious film about failure, loneliness and what happens when you fall out of step with the world.
Escape Room(Sony Pictures)
Ready for a bit of good, gory fun? Six strangers wind up inside an immersive and deadly game – where they have to solve puzzles inside a series of mystery rooms or die. OK, we know it sounds like The Crystal Maze, but still… Adam Robitel, who directed 2018’s Insidious: The Last Key, is the man calling the shots, while the eclectic cast includes Deborah Ann Woll, of Marvel TV series Daredevilfame, and Taylor Russell, from the recent reboot of Lost in Space.
Green Book(E1 Entertainment)
Another true story about friendship, this time with five Oscar nominations, Green Bookstars Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don Shirley, a classically-trained African-American pianist who hires a rough-hewn Italian-American bouncer, Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), as his driver. Set in the early 1960s, this odd couple travels across the racially segregated Deep South, gradually overcoming their differences. Peter Farrelly, best known for comedies like Dumb and Dumber, directs with real heart.
South Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s much-admired Burningfinally hits the UK, some nine months or so since it premiered in Cannes to rapturous reviews. A psychological drama, based on Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning”, it stars Yoo Ah-in and Jun Jong-seo as two former childhood friends who reunite years later as adults in a story that embraces jealousy and revenge when a third character – played by Steven Yuen – enters their lives.
All films released on 1 February.
1. Yun Jong-seo as Haemi in Burning.